|H I M A C H A L
P R A D E S H
Monday, September 7, 1998
Missing girl case:
HP to spend 200 crore on
strengthens HVC flank
6 crore NABARD loan for improving Chamba roads
against me false: Sukh Ram
wins 86 prizes in apple show
beldars stage dharna
case against four PWD officials
Missing girl case: probe still on
SOLAN, Sept 6 Mystery continues to shroud the disappearance of 18 month-old Arti from Mandesar in Kishangarh sub-tehsil of this district, on June 2.
The first clue that came the investigators' way was that the girl was last seen in the arms of Kamlesh, a 13-year-old boy of a neighbouring village.
He first "disclosed" that he had raped the girl and buried her in the jungle but later when nothing was recovered from the site, he told the police that he had forgotten the exact spot where he had buried her.
Though the police claimed to have thoroughly searched the entire area around Mandesar, the girl's grand mother said she had found pieces of frock and ribbon that Arti was wearing at the time of her disappearance from near the village pond. Later, a skull and some bones were also recovered from the spot, which were later confirmed by forensic experts as belonging to a child of the same age group as that of Arti.
Later, Kamlesh said he had picked up the girl at the behest of one Kishan Lal, supposedly a "tantrik', for Rs 100.
This fresh statement led the police to believe that the girl might have been sacrificed. Kishan Lal and another 'tantrik', Sohan Singh, were arrested and remanded in the judicial custody after over three weeks of detention.
After a change in the investigating team, fresh evidence was recovered from the jungle. The new investigating officer, DSP Virendra Kanwar, collected the droppings of some wild animal, believed to be a leopard, and sent them to the forensic laboratory for examination.
Experts confirmed that the droppings contained some hair and pieces of bone that were identical to the type found on the skull recovered earlier. The police now believes that the child was devoured by some leopard. Villagers, however, say that no such beast had been sighted around Mandesar for years.
Teachers threaten statewide stir
HAMIRPUR, Sept 6 Nearly 200 members of the HP Joint Volunteers Trained Teachers Association took out a procession through the main bazar here today demanding regularisation of their services and salary for the two-month monsoon vacation. The processionists were led by Dr Yashwant Singh Rana, the state president of the Shikshak Mahasangh, and Mr Deepak Sharma, a local leader of the Himachal Vikas Congress.
The processionists raised slogans against the state government in general and the Education Minister and the Director of Education in particular. They also submitted a memorandum to the district administration.
At a rally, the striking teachers demanded immediate sack of the Education Minister, Mr Ishwar Dass Dhiman and the Director of Education, Mr S.C. Rai. They alleged that both of them were responsible for blocking their demands.
Dr Rana said that if the state government failed to accept their genuine' demands, all members of the Cabinet would be gheroed by the Mahasangh at Dharamsala on September 9. He also announced holding of state-level rallies at Hamirpur on September 18 and 19.
He alleged that a section of officers in the Directorate of Education was not allowing the state government to negotiate with the teachers.
Dr Rana called upon the teachers to unite to get their demands conceded.
HP to spend 200 crore on primary
CHAMBA, Sept 6 The Himachal Pradesh Government will spend Rs 200 crore on primary education during the current Ninth Five Year Plan.
This was stated by Mr I.D. Dhiman, Education Minister, while president over a state-level teachers day function held here.
The minister said primary education had been made compulsory and that there were 10,484 primary schools, 1,215 middle schools, 980 high schools, 425 senior secondary schools, 37 colleges and 12 district institutes of education in the state.
He said the state government had been striving hard to take education to the doorsteps of the people despite limited resources.
He expressed concern over the deteriorating moral values and emphasised the need to revitalise the education system.
Mr Dhiman announced the commencement of M.Com classes in the local Post Graduate College from the next academic session.
He honoured nine teachers with state awards and four with national awards for 1997.
Those given the state awards were Mr Ramesh Bhardwaj, Mr Pritam Chand, Mr Ajeet Diwan Mr Prem Singh, Mr Krishan Dutt Sharma, Mr Krishan Singh, Mr S.R. Pandey, Mr Kamal Kumar and Mr Bansi Ram.
The four national awardees were Mr Tara Singh, Mr S.P. Sharma Mr P.N. Sharma and Mr R.K. Gaulani. Earlier speaking on the occasion, Himachal Industries Minister, Mr Kishori Lal, said the state government had decided to fill 770 posts of school lecturer and 450 posts of teacher on contract basis during this year.
Kangra cries for attention
KANGRA: This historic town of Himachal, which is also a famous pilgrimage centre of northern India, is in a state of utter neglect. Lakhs of people visit the temple of Brajeshwari Mata here every year but the Himachal Government is least concerned about the problems of the town which lacks basic amenities.
Potholed roads and streets, choked drains and contaminated drinking water welcome those visiting the town. Although the town has produced several political leaders who remained in the state Cabinet for years together, none bothered to take care of this historic town. Almost all interior streets of the town are in bad shape. The drains overflow and emit a foul smell. Most of the streets dug up for laying telephone cables and water supply pipes long back are yet to be repaired, resulting in the leakage of underground water pipes.
Tehsil Chowk, the gateway to the famous Brajeshwari temple, presents a dirty scene as the road leading to the shrine always remains full of garbage. The temple opens at 5 a.m. daily. The pilgrims, who reach in the early hours, are inconvenienced a lot as this garbage is removed late in the day. The other areas of the town are no better.
With a sharp increase in the population of the town, the drainage system is woefully inadequate. There has been a manifold increase in the population but drains are the same built 20 years ago. This is one of the factors for poor sanitary and unhygienic conditions in the town. The conditions in Jamanabad Road, Dugga Bazar, Temple Road and Tanda Road has gone from bad to worse, reducing these localities to slums. When it rains, the drainage water enters houses and shops.
The local Municipal Council is unable to improve the things in the absence of adequate funds. The council receives meagre grants from the government for the development of the town. After the abolition of octroi, the Municipal Council is facing a serious financial crisis. Whatever income the council has is not sufficient even to pay salaries to the staff and power supply bills. Being a pilgrimage centre, the town always remains overcrowded and the council has to spend additional funds to keep the town clean even though it is not getting additional grants from the government.
Besides, the local residents are not getting regular supply of drinking water. The state government has spent over Rs 1 crore on a new water supply scheme for the town but it too seems to have failed to solve the problem. It is alleged that drinking water carries mud, insects and other waste material and is thus unfit for human consumption. It is revealed that the water filter system of the IPH Department does not function properly.
The Dharamsala-Chandigarh highway, which passes through this town, has become an accident-prone zone, being narrow and uneven. Over 2,000 vehicles pass through this highway daily but no efforts have been made to build a bypass to reduce traffic congestion in the town. The road near the temple is also in pitiable condition, resulting in frequent accidents and traffic jams.
The temple is receiving offerings worth crores of rupees every year. It is surprising that the temple management has not yet laid a marble flooring on the roads and paths leading to the temple.
Tanda Road, a bypass to
Palampur, Mandi and Manali, is in a poor condition and no
efforts have been made to widen it. Mr Vidya Sagar, HP
Agriculture Minister, who represents this constituency in
the state assembly, says that he is making efforts to
develop this town and additional funds will be made
available to give a facelift to the town. He says he has
already directed the PWD and IPH authorities to repair
roads and drains after the rainy season is over.
strengthens HVC flank
SHIMLA, Sept 6 The recent appointment of chairpersons to various boards and corporations has been a careful exercise by Mr P.K. Dhumal, HP Chief Minister, to cement ties with his coalition partner, the Himachal Vikas Congress, and rehabilitate important party leaders.
Besides, Mr Sukh Ram, the HVC chief, who has been appointed chairperson of the all-important employment generation and resource mobilisation committee only one MLA Mr Vipin Parmar, figures among the nine appointees. This clearly indicates that the exercise has not been undertaken because of any pressure from legislators but to strengthen the party organisation.
Speculation regarding expansion of the ministry and appointment of chairpersons had been rife for the past quite sometime.
However, it was the "Pitri Paksha", the inauspicious fortnight beginning on September 7, which prompted Mr Dhumal to carry out the exercise at least partially. He has so far appointed only 10 persons, including Mr Chander Sen, who was made chairman of the HPMC five days ago.
According to party sources, some more chairpersons will be appointed later and the exercise is likely to be completed after the Chief Minister carries out the third and final phase of the expansion of his ministry.
Mr Dhumal has made appointments without taking factional loyalties into consideration and tried to project a united image of the party.
The appointment of Mr Sukh Ram and Mr Vijay Joshi, the working president of the HVC, will help remove the grouse of the party that it was not being treated as an equal partner in the coalition. The assignment of Mr Sukh Ram in a way covers the entire gamut of the government and will enable him to have frequent interaction with the Chief Minister and other ministers. The terms of reference of the employment generation and resource mobilisation committee, of which he has been made the chairperson, are to be decided by the Cabinet.
This in turn will not only ensure better coordination among the coalition partners but also enable the government to gain from Mr Sukh Ram administrative experience. The appointment of Mr Vijay Joshi along with Mr Sukh Ram is indicative of the clout of the HVC in the coalition.
Mr Dhumal has over the
past one month tried to redress the grievances of the
HVC. He accepted a major demand of the party by
forwarding a chargesheet against Mr Virbhadra Singh, a
former Chief Minister and rival of Mr Sukh Ram, to the
Prime Minister for a CBI probe. Smoothening of the
relationship between the two parties will also enable
them to arrive at an understanding on the Baijnath
Rs 6 crore NABARD loan for
DHARAMSALA, Sept 6 (UNI) The Himachal Pradesh Government has got sanctioned Rs 6 crore from NABARD for improvement and widening of existing roads in Chamba district.
Under this plan, the 14 km road stretch between Chamba and Banikhet and the 44 km long Sihunta-Raipur-Patka Chowari road would be improved. A bridge over the Ravi river at Mehla would also be constructed, according to an official spokesman here.
Chamba and Kangra districts fall in the North zone of the state Public Works Department which takes care of maintenance and construction of roads in the two districts comprising 21 assembly constituencies.
The total area of these constituencies comes to 12267 square kilometre and has the population of over 16 lakh. The total length of motorable roads is 5200 km, out of which 2300 km are metalled.
As many as 14 state highways pass through the North zone covering a length of 1160 km. There are also six arterial roads in the zone, having a total length of 242 km.
The spokesman said during the first quarter of the current financial year more than 620 km roads were repaired. Undercross drainage was laid on 25 km road length. Similarly, 113 km road length has been tarred in Kangra and Chamba districts.
He said the 60-km-long road between Mubarakpur and Mataur was being widened to national standards.
In Kangra, the improvement work has already been started on many roads. A few of these roads include the Bhawarna-Khera-Alampur road, Old Kangra-Kachhiari Road, Rail Head Kandrori Pucca Tiyala Road and the Khabli-Dusarka via Shivanath Galor road.
The state government has also taken up the widening and improvement of the Highway No 5 which passes through Mandi, Riwalsar, Sindhol, Harsipatan, Alampur, Lahru, Nadaun and Jawalamukhi. About 80-km length of this road falls in Kangra district. Metalling of the 67 km-road from Lambagaon to Nagrota was underway. In Dehra sub-division the Sillsyorbla road was also being improved and widened.
Till March this year 447 bridges were completed. During the current financial year, 24 new bridges would be constructed in Kangra and Chamba districts. Out of these the construction work of two bridges has already been completed.
HP wins 86
prizes in apple show
SHIMLA, Sept 6 Mr Narinder Bragta, Horticulture Minister, said here yesterday that Himachal Pradesh has won 86 out of 107 prizes in the 15th All India Apple Show organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, at Dehra Dun.
He said the progeny-cum-demonstration orchard, Bokhtu, won the best fruit of the show award while Mr Hukam Ram of Kulu district won the category "A" prize while special awards in A.B.C and D categories were won by the Department of Horticulture, Himachal Pradesh.
against me false: Sukh Ram
CHAMBA, Sept 6 Himachal Vikas Congress supremo Sukh Ram categorically stated that the charges levelled against him and the cases against him are a conspiracy to "blemish" his political career. Mr Sukh Ram, who on Friday night addressed a public rally organised by the Chamba unit of the HVC at Chamba, lashed out at former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for his intimidatory role during his regime.
Mr Sukh Ram asserted that the campaign of the HVC was to fight against Rajawarashahi in the state so that common people could prevail. The HVC supremo underlined the need for a pollution free tourism industry being promoted and developed as a perennial industry.
Earlier, addressing the
public meeting, Mr Mohinder Singh, Public Works Minister
said that roads were the lifeline of the state. Mr Sukh
Ram and the PWD Minister are on a visit to the militancy
infested border in the Tissa area of Chamba district.
They will address a rally at Tissa and also meet the
families of those massacred at Kalaban and Satrundi and
Sappa Chili recently.
UNA, Sept 6 Under the orders of the Chief Medical Officer here, D.D.T. spray in the district was stopped a month in advance on August 31. More than 50 workers, who were engaged in the job, have been rendered jobless.
Mr Roshan Lal, president, D.D.T. Beldar Workers Union, told this correspondent yesterday at the district hospital that 50 beldars had been sitting on a dharna since September 1 in front of the Chief Medical Officer's office. He said most of these beldars had been spraying DDT for the past 20 years up to September 30 every year. This year, the CMO claiming the shortage of DDT as the reason terminated the services of the workers one month in advance.
Mr Roshan Lal showed the
copy of the HP High Court order which directed the state
government to fill posts of Class IV employees from among
DDT beldars in the Health Department. He has sent
representations to the Chief Minister, the Health
Minister and the Member of Parliament of the area that
the DDT workers should be allowed to continue work up to
September 30 and posts of Class IV employees should be
filled from among the workers.
against four PWD officials
BILASPUR, Sept 6 Four officials of the state PWD are being investigated by the Vigilance Department. This action follows the Chief Minister's orders, who had received complaints against the officials that they had connived with a contractor here to withdraw an amount of Rs 8 lakh for removing the landslide rubble from the National Highway No 21 near here at Gambhralla.
The Deputy Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) of Solan district raided the PWD (Division No 2) office and confiscated a number of connected documents.
The case related to the landslide which occurred on November 15 last year. The road was cleared of the rubble within 15 days with the help of heavy machines procured from two cement factories at Barmana and Darlaghat near here. The contractor was paid Rs 1.25 lakh for the job.
After eight months the
officials prepared four bills amounting to Rs 7 lakh in
favour of the contractor as running bills and passed
those. Running bills can't be prepared after completion
of the work.
SUNDERNAGAR, Sept 6 Proagro Seed Company organised a kisan mela at Ghangal village of Panchayat Mahadev today. Hundreds of farmers from nearby panchayats attended the mela.
The area organiser of the company, Mr K.R. Garg, told the farmers about the new hybrid quality of maize which gives a yield about two times than any other variety.
deal a sellout: HPUTA
SHIMLA, Sept 6 The Himachal Pradesh University Teachers Association has termed the agreement between the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the All-India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation a "sellout" and accused the federation of betraying the teaching community.
Mr Rajinder Chauhan, president of the association, said the federation had totally failed to safeguard the interests of college and university teachers because the main objective of the strike, implementation of UGC scales, had not been achieved. The association felt that university teachers all over the country would have to seriously consider whether or not to associate themselves with the AIFUCTO in future. This was the second time that it had betrayed the teachers, it said.
The HPUTA, he said, had
decided to form a federation of the three universities of
the state. This federation would work exclusively for
protecting the interests of university teachers as their
nature of work and service conditions were different from
those of college teachers. It would associate with the
Federation of Central Universities Teachers Associations
rather than AIFUCTO.
Krishan defends inquiry against Virbhadra
BILASPUR, Sept 6 Veteran freedom fighter Hari Krishan, who is also president of the All-Party Citizens Rights Protection Committee here flayed the statement of the former Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, that Chief Minister Dhumal had degraded the dignity of his office by recommending a CBI inquiry into allegations against him.
Addressing mediapersons here today, Hari Krishan said that no one was above the law and Mr Dhumal had given the right signal. As Mr Virbhadra Singh was Chief Minister for some 13 years no state agency could be expected to hold an impartial inquiry against him.
He also challenged the statement of Mr Virbhadra Singh that he had been exonerated in several of these cases saying Mr Singh should publicise these judgements.
He said in fact no court
until now had ever gone into the merits of any of these
allegations and the allegations cannot be dismissed only
because these have been levelled by the Himachal Vikas
Congress, whose leader is himself facing trial.
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